2 minute read

‘Tis the Season to be Tempted!

Last Updated: April 6, 2016

Joel Hesch

Joel Hesch is an author and founder of Proven Men Ministries, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring families and helping men break free from porn and sex addiction through a 12-week daily workbook study and accountability. After breaking free from his own 20-year addiction, Joel created “the proven path for sexual integrity.” His vision is to help 1 million people experience victory from strongholds of porn and sex addition.

I love Christmas time. It’s magical. I love decorating the tree, putting up lights, and buying (as well as getting) presents. I love to say “Merry Christmas” to clerks at the store.

“‘Tis the season to be jolly!”

But where expectations run high, so do disappointments. For many, the holidays usher in stress, worry, and loneliness.

Tis-Season-for-temptation

For most, Christmas and New Years are about being with family. We forget about the dysfunctional past and envision the merry times ahead. But the prancing and dancing quickly fade away as old familiar tensions and rivalries return. Family gatherings can soon turn to stress.

We worry about finances, whether we got the right gift, and how much time off we can spare. Christmas can be a time where comparisons run rampant: Each picture or message on Facebook paints a perfect season filled with perfect lives. You wonder and worry, “Why can’t that be me!”

For the single or separated, loneliness is magnified during the holidays. Watching couples exchange presents or kiss under the mistletoe fuels the grief of being alone.

Stress. Worry. Loneliness. They’re a big part of the holiday season. But the real problem is that these three things are also the three greatest triggers to look at porn. In the midst of the most wonderful time of the year, these triggers will sneak up and catch you off-guard like the ghosts of Christmas who visited Ebenezer Scrooge at midnight. But rather than warning you to repent and change, these triggers invite you to hide and escape into a fantasy world that drains the spirit from your soul.

Around Christmas, you’ll face increased temptation to drift into fantasy—to pretend you have a life different from your own; one where you can write the script filled with perfect presents and jubilant joy. Unfortunately, when you give yourself permission to escape the harshness of reality (i.e. life isn’t picture-perfect; you weren’t born into a Hallmark family) that’s when the temptation to feed the lust monster takes over.

The good news is you’ve been warned that the three ghosts of Christmas temptation will be visiting—not just one night, but all season long. Armed with that knowledge, you have a chance to be vigilant: Create a game plan for victory over the lures of lust and porn.

Here are some holiday tips:

  • Develop a game plan. Instead of retreating to porn, have a book to read or another activity planned.
  • Get outside of yourself. When you focus on your circumstances, the temptation to escape comes calling. Serving others is the best antidote to a self-induced pity party. Ring a bell for the Salvation Army, visit a nursing home or work in a soup kitchen.
  • Burn off steam and calories. Go for walks.
  • Reach out. Call a friend. Be open and honest about your feelings and temptations. (Keeping secrets breeds failure.)
  • Avoid Facebook and social media. Comparing your life to the façade on Facebook only leads to more stress and loneliness.
  • Don’t throw in the towel. If you have a setback, get back up. Holidays are not a free-for-all or binge time.

Because the holidays are a time of increased temptation, it’s also the time to be on guard. You can keep it a joyous season if you plan right. But as you ward off the three ghosts of Christmas temptations, be sure to also keep Christ as the center of the season. That’s where true hope and lasting victory are found.